Art & Sole
Story by: Nurul Deanna
Photos by: Ezzam Rahman & Jun Tsujioka
For multi-disciplinary artist, Ezzam Rahman, his canvas is his body. Or more specifically, the dry callouses of his feet.
His work, “Here’s who I am, I am what you see”, was made for the President’s Young Talents exhibition by the Singapore Art Museum in 2015.
“It is an installation artwork consisting of second hand dining tables, bell jars and miniature flower-like sculptures made out of the dry callouses of my feet,” explains the multi-tasking creator.
Set in a dark room, these fragile “flowers” were placed in 34 bell jars – the glow of the bell jars being the only source of light in the room. This piece of work is said to represent the artist himself, portraying the idea that the present absence left behind by a human body can be felt.
This wasn’t the first time Ezzam has used this unconventional medium for his works.
Back in 2014, Ezzam created a project series entitled “Ouch!” which showcased different “fossils” all made from his skin as well. Commissioned by the Singapore Art Museum, these artworks are in the shapes of dry animal skeletons such as fishes, dragonflies, birds, lizards, and frogs.
This whole idea of using dead skin as a medium started back in 2009 for an art class project when he needed to show time through art.
“As a formally trained sculptor, I’ve always loved materials and exploring different mediums other than the traditional ones. I was grooming one day and stumbled upon this material by accident which made me realised its potential,” he adds.
When asked about the process of getting the skin off his feet, the trained sculptor from LASALLE says, “I am a bit primitive. I just use a pair of sharp scissors and clippers to peel the dry skin off my feet.”
New skin will grow back in a span of three to four weeks. In order to slow down the decay, Ezzam places his skin in an airtight plastic container.
“There are days that I hurt myself by cutting too deep,” he continues.
It may seem to you that Ezzam’s work of art is a little strange. However according to the artist himself, he has seen as well as experienced even more bizarre and odd artworks.
“Maybe at this moment, I am the only one who actually make such works,” he says. “I am not expecting everyone to understand art, but I hope we will be better art appreciators in the near future.”